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No Deal Yet for Striking Chicago Teachers; Financial Help for First Responders; Ruling: Tattooing Is Free Speech

Aired September 11, 2012 - 05:00   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Standoff in Chicago. Striking teachers face off against Mayor Rahm Emanuel for the second day now, leaving 350,000 kids sitting at home again instead of going to school.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: America remembers 9/11. A live look at the World Trade Center site, 11 years later. A victory for some of the heroes who still suffer to this day.

ROMANS: And real-life drama at the WWE. A legendary wrestler turned announcer collapses on live television.

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans again, in for you this morning. John Berman is going to be around in about two hours. He's anchoring "STARTING POINT."

SAMBOLIN: We're playing musical chairs. I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It's 5:00 a.m. here in the East. Let's get started for you this morning.

Still no deal for 30,000 Chicago teachers on strike.


PROTESTERS: We are the union, the mighty, mighty union.


SAMBOLIN: They are fighting for what they call a fair contract. Negotiations with public school officials now entering a second day, 350,000 students have an unscheduled day off, leaving parents scrambling for Plan B.

Casey Wian is at Manuel Perez Jr. Elementary School in Chicago.

Casey, any progress overnight?

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Zoraida, it depends on who you listen to. According to school board president, David Vitale, last night, he said the two sides are close enough to get this issue resolved. However, the teachers' union says it's up to the school board to break this impasse. For now, both sides seem unwilling to budge.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL (D), CHICAGO, IL: They're doing very important work and it's very tough work. And it has to be appreciated and respected. That's what we do. But there are some core things where we have made, I think, what is in my view, an honorable compromise and a win/win situation as they themselves said. It's not financial anymore. You're down to the two issues.

DAVID VITALE, PRESIDENT, CHICAGO BOARD OF EDUCATION: We're working at this. This is hard work. And it's taking them, it appears, to be more time than we think it should.


WIAN: Those two core issues that the mayor talked about, the issue of teacher evaluations and the procedure for recalling laid off teachers and who should control that, those two issues weren't even discussed last night at the bargaining table. So, that is not a hopeful sign.

Negotiations according to the union, though, are scheduled to resume at 9:30 local time this morning, Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: You know, I was reading in "The Chicago Sun-Times" this morning, a lot of the parents are honking in support of the teachers picketing yesterday. But, you know, it begs the question, what are they supposed to do with their kids? A lot of them are taking their vacation time. They're taking their sick time. What's the contingency plan? What do the parents say?

WIAN: Well, it's going to be interesting to see how long that parental support. We heard some of that same parental support yesterday as well, how long that continues if the strike continues.

I'm at one of the schools that the city has set up to allow parents to drop their children off temporarily, four hours at a time if they don't have other child care arrangements. The reports are that those facilities were very lightly used during the day yesterday. Part of the reason for that is that the teachers at that school -- those schools were walking the picket lines and a lot of parents didn't want to have their children cross those lines.

We'll have to see how that develops today. But right now, a lot of parents struggling to find alternative arrangements.

Here's what a couple of them told us.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come on now, our kids shouldn't have to suffer for that. Our kids need the education. It's bad enough they don't get the education they need because of the conditions. We suffer through poverty, we suffer through gang battles, everything, and our kids have to be out of school? That's the only safe haven they have right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My kids are at home missing out on their education. So, now, they get to go home and play around and pretend like this is a fun day. It's like in front of nobody.


WIAN: That one mother who spoke about gang violence, that's something we heard a lot from parents, very concerned about children roaming the streets with no place to go, given the fact that Chicago's murder rate up more than 30 percent over last year. Big concern and one issue that parents are struggling with, Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Very legitimate concern, indeed.

Casey Wian, live for us in Chicago -- thank you very much.

ROMANS: This morning, America remembers the 2,977 lives lost on September 11th, 2001, 11 years -- 11 years have now passed since that terror attack that changed this country forever.

At Ground Zero this morning, family members will participate in the traditional reading of the names. The ceremony begins at 8:39 Eastern and will be marked by six moments of silence, two at the exact times the planes struck the Twin Towers and two when each tower fell and two to mark the exact moments of the attacks of Flight 93 and the Pentagon.

At the White House, the President and First Lady will observe a moment of silence before arriving at the Pentagon at 9:20 Eastern. There will be laying a wreath. There'll be ceremony there to honor the 184 lives lost there and Vice President Biden will speak at a ceremony at the Flight 93 memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania at 10:00 a.m. Eastern.

Yesterday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta toured that site where the heroic passengers and crew members took down the plane.


LEON PANETTA, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: They successfully prevented an attack on the United States Capitol. I am particularly thankful to them, because on that fateful day, I was at the U.S. Capitol. Their example continued to inspire and to strengthen our nation.


ROMANS: Also today, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will address the National Guard Association Convention in Reno, Nevada.

And a dispute that has stalled construction of the 9/11 Museum at Ground Zero. It appears to be settled now. Last night, a deal was struck between New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, construction of $700 million museum, which was supposed to open in 2009. It's expected to resume soon. No date has been set for the opening.

Coming up in about five minutes, we're going to talk about new developments in the fight to get compensation for those first responders who developed illnesses after their work at Ground Zero.

SAMBOLIN: Al Qaeda in Yemen suffers a major blow as Yemen's military kills a top Saudi member. Abu Said al-Shihri was reportedly responsible for recruitment and fundraising for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Local officials say he was killed by a U.S. drone strike on a car in which he and other militants were traveling.

ROMANS: President Barack Obama is now in the lead over Republican Mitt Romney in a brand new CNN/ORC poll. Take a look at the numbers, likely voters give the President a six-point lead over Mitt Romney, 52 percent to 46 percent. Last week, just before the Democratic convention, they were deadlocked at 48 percent.

In a wider sampling of all registered voters, a "Washington Post"/ABC News poll has Mr. Obama ahead of Mr. Romney 50 percent to 44 percent.

SAMBOLIN: Seven minutes past the hour. A scary moment during WWE's Monday night raw that was a bit too real here. Legendary wrestler, now commentator Jerry "The King" Lawler collapsed during last night's live broadcast. The co-host Michael Cole broke the news to fans with an empty chair next to him.


MICHAEL COLE, WWE ANNOUNCER: I want to preface this by saying that this is not part of tonight's entertainment. This is a real-life situation. My broadcast colleague, Jerry "The King" Lawler, earlier on tonight collapsed mid-match while on commentary. He was -- he fell out of his chair to the floor below. Doctors were here immediately. Emergency personnel would stretcher him out of the arena where he received CPR.


SAMBOLIN: Lawler was rushed to the hospital. A statement on the WWE's Website says he suffered a heart attack.

ROMANS: Actress Angelina Jolie on a mission in the Middle East in her role as a United Nations special envoy. Jolie met with Syrian refugees at a tent city in Jordan today. She thanked Jordan and other neighboring countries for their efforts to welcome the refugees. U.N. officials say the Zaatari refugee camp where Angelina Jolie visited is home to some 27,000 people who have been displaced from their homes by the 18-month Syrian conflict.

SAMBOLIN: History at the U.S. tennis tournament, the U.S. Open. Andy Murray becoming the first British player to win a Grand Slam men's title in 76 years. Murray defeated the defending champ, Novak Djokovic, in a 5-set thriller that lasted nearly five hours. Murray who won the Olympic gold medal had lost his four previous Grand Slam finals, including this year's Wimbledon to Roger Federer.

The last Brit to do it, Fred Perry back in 1936.

ROMANS: Brits at Wimbledon, they were so disappointed, and now, they get it back. All right. Nine minutes after the hour.

Changing gears now -- they're the first responders who toiled in rubble at Ground Zero. They waited for more than a decade for help as they battled the cancers caused by the toxic fumes. Finally a breakthrough on this 11th anniversary of the attack.

The story, coming up.


ROMANS: Good morning. You're looking at a live picture of the Freedom Tower this morning as we get ready for the 11th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11, 2001.

Fifty different types of cancer being added to the list of World Trade Center related diseases that will now be covered by the federal government under the 9/11 Zadroga Act. That's welcome news for hundreds of first responders whose heroic actions 11 years ago left them sick and bankrupt.

Here's Athena Jones with more.


ERNIE VALLEBUONA, 9/11 FIRST RESPONDER: Because I lived on Staten Island at the time and I could see the smoke coming from the tower.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ernie Vallebuona rushed to the World Trade Center site on September 11, 2001, to help with rescue and recovery efforts.

VALLEBUONA: There was a lot of confusion and a lot of smoke. You couldn't see. When you were trying to walk through the smoke to search for survivors, you know, you could barely see your hand in front of you.

JONES: Then a New York City Police detective, Vallebuona spent six months at the site. A few years later, he was diagnosed with cancer.

VALLEBUONA: 2004 is when I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

JONES: His cancer now in remission, Vallebuona had to use his retirement savings to pay bills his insurance didn't cover and is hoping to recoup some of that money.

VALLEBOUNA: It's been something that they've been talking about for 10 years now.

JONES: Vallebuona and other first responders made sick by the chemicals and dust are still waiting for compensation from the government. Payments to some who developed respiratory, digestive and other conditions should begin in the next couple of months under a law President Obama signed in January of 2011, the Zadroga Act, named after New York Police Detective James Zadroga, who died of a respiratory illness after working at the World Trade Center site. It sets aside some $2.8 billion to cover their claims.

Attorney Noah Kushlefsky represents Vallebuona and nearly 4,000 first responders who became ill.

NOAH KUSHLEFSKY, KREINDLER & KREINDLER LLP: Now people are terribly sick. People can't support their families. This program in a very real sense a lifeline that is going to help people put their lives together after they stepped up and did things that nobody else was willing to do.

JONES: For those just now getting sick, Vallebuona hopes the fund will ultimately send this message.

VALLEBUONA: Just fight your cancer, man. Don't worry about money. Don't worry about co-payments or medications. We got your back.

JONES: Athena Jones, CNN, Washington.


ROMANS: Dr. Benjamin Luft will be joining us next hour on EARLY START. He's medical director of the World Trade Center health program at Stony Brook University in Long Island.

You know what's interesting, those days right after 9/11, you know, to call it smoke -- people call it the smoke that people were breathing. It was more like soup. It was so thick. It didn't smell like smoke. It was --

SAMBOLIN: It was disintegrated everything, right?

ROMANS: It was office chairs, walls, concrete, asbestos. We'll find out more. We'll talk to Dr. Benjamin Luft about what was in that air and how remarkable this new move is so that people's cancer could be covered.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, good news.

All right. Fifteen minutes past the hour.

Let's get you up-to-date now.

No deal yet for 30,000 Chicago teachers on strike.


PROTESTERS: The union marches on.


SAMBOLIN: That's Chicago public school teachers. Negotiations with public school officials now entering a second day. Mayor Rahm Emanuel saying teachers are making the wrong choice to strike, with 350,000 students paying the ultimate price. Emanuel says there with two unresolved issues, teacher evaluations and a policy that would put laid off teachers in line for new jobs.

ROMANS: Republican vice president nominee Paul Ryan siding with Mayor Emanuel when it comes to the teachers strike. At a Portland fundraiser, Ryan called the strike unnecessary and wrong. He's calling on President Obama to stand behind Emanuel who worked as his Chief of Staff.

A White House spokesman saying President Obama's main concern is for students and families affected by this strike.

SAMBOLIN: Becoming a political issue.


SAMBOLIN: Both Romney and Obama camps have agreed to pull all negative ads today, that is in honor of September 11th. The GOP nominee will be in Reno, Nevada, addressing the National Guard.

National Guardsmen played a key role in the response to the 9/11 attacks.

President Obama and the First Lady will observe a moment of silence at the White House this morning. Then they'll head to the Pentagon for a wreath laying ceremony there.

ROMANS: North Korea has agreed to accept relief aid from South Korea. The North Koreans are reeling from a tropical cyclone that hit last month, killing dozens, leaving 21,000 people homeless. That storm, followed devastating floods in July that killed at least 169 people. The U.N. called for emergency help for North Korea and the South Korea offer was accepted, even though these two countries are legally at war.

SAMBOLIN: Repelling Don't Ask, Don't Tell has not harmed the U.S. military one year in now. A study by the Palm Center found the new policy has had no overall negative impact on military readiness, unity, recruitment, retention or morale. The study was co-authored by U.S. military professors.

ROMANS: Britain's Prince William and bride Kate Middleton, also known as the Duchess of Cambridge, they're beginning a nine-day tour of Asia with a visit to Singapore today. They're visiting four countries as part of the world tour celebrating Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee.

The always fashionable Kate will be ready to talk (ph) with photographers. She is reportedly taking more than 30 outfits with her. Just another day at the office for Kate.

SAMBOLIN: It is 17 minutes past the hour.

We're getting an early read on your local news making national headlines.

"The Trentonian" has the story of Trenton, New Jersey mayor, Tony Mack, who is now facing corruption charges after being caught up in a federal sting operation. Mayor Mack was arrested yesterday, along with his brother and a business associate. Federal prosecutors say the men accepted approximately $119,000 in bribes as part of a scheme to sell city-owned land to investors for less than the assessed value.

ROMANS: From the "Pittsburgh Post-Gazette," there's a separation of church and state debate raging in southwestern Pennsylvania. A controversial five-foot marble slab of the Ten Commandments sits covered up by plywood outside the Connellsville Junior High School. It's been displayed there since 1957, but recent complaints prompted school officials to hide the Ten Commandments from view.

Not sitting too well with the nearby Connellsville Church of God. They're offering to display the monument on their property where it can be seen from the junior high school. The school board votes to tomorrow on the church's offer.

SAMBOLIN: For an expanded look at all of our top stories, head to our blog,

ROMANS: All right. Coming up, folks, candidates and your money. A closer look at what the Obama and Romney tax plans would do to your bottom line.

SAMBOLIN: Looking forward to that.


SAMBOLIN: We are minding your business this morning. We have the million dollar question. What would happen to your money under Mitt Romney and President Obama's tax plans?

Christine has been diving in-depth into both of these platforms, and what do you have for us?

ROMANS: There's nothing more exciting and complicated than taxes. It's really important, because it's what you're going to pay. In short, President Obama wants to tax the rich more. Mitt Romney wants to cut income taxes for everyone but hasn't revealed almost any details about how he plans to pay for those cuts.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm not proposing anything radical here. I believe anybody making over $250,000 a year should go back to the income tax rates we were paying under Bill Clinton.

MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I will not raise taxes on the American people. I will not raise taxes on middle-income Americans. We're going to make sure that Americans have the money to pay their bills.


ROMANS: All right. Here's what we do know. What would happen to income taxes? Romney wants to cut income taxes by 20 percent for every single income level. Obama wants to split up the higher tax brackets and tax the rich more.

The big question is what would happen to some big deductions like carried interest, the child tax credit, the mortgage interest deduction? We just don't know what Romney has planned for those an they're very important to the middle class.

When it comes to investments, the difference in the plans comes, again, with taxes on the rich. High income earners making $200,000 a year or more, their capital gains and dividends are currently taxed at 15 percent. Romney wants to keep it that way.

President Obama wants to increase taxes on capital gains. So, 20 percent. And dividends as high as 39.6 percent.

Now, we still don't know how all this will be paid for. Romney's running mate Paul Ryan addressed this over the weekend.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: The question is not necessarily what loopholes go but who gets them. High-income earners use most of the loopholes. That means they can shelter their income from taxation.

But if you take those loopholes, those tax shelters away from high income earners, more of their income is subject to taxation and that allows to us lower tax rates on everybody -- small businesses, families, economic growth.


ROMANS: But, again, no more details about which loopholes would be closed or for exactly what income level. We wanted to do a comparison of what would happen to the median income family making $50,000 a year but we can't do it given the information available for Romney's plan for taxes. We can't tell you exactly, because we don't know which loopholes would go, when they will go and how many.

We actually asked the Romney campaign if they've done an analysis as what would happen to the average family. They said, no, they had not done that.

I wanted to make an avatar showing sort of the average family, what taxes would like under that family. And the official we spoke to who is involved in setting economic policy but did not want to be named said anyone who says Romney wants to get rid of the child tax credit is incorrect. But this official did not explain what Romney would do with that or any other tax credits.

SAMBOLIN: So here's the question: when will we know?

ROMANS: I suspect the debates. There are going to be a lot of very pointed questions about what happens to the mortgage interest deduction, what happens to the child tax credit, what happens to the average family, their tax bill under a President Romney. That question will for sure be asked.

SAMBOLIN: I wonder why they're not answering that question now.

ROMANS: They will say the tax rate will go down 20 percent. They want to cut tax rates all across the board.

SAMBOLIN: The details.

ROMANS: The details on how to pay for it, that's what we're looking for.

Look, people campaign one way and govern another way.

SAMBOLIN: That is also true.

ROMANS: We also know there's a lot of talk about comprehensive tax reform. Could be candidates don't want to get tied into one thing when next year if there's tax reform, they could have to have a different position.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Well, thank you for attempting, right?

ROMANS: You're welcome.

SAMBOLIN: We appreciate that.

Twenty-six minutes past the hour. Battle over body art goes all the way to Arizona's highest court. Coming up, the ruling on tattoos and free speech.



SAMBOLIN (voice-over): Day two of the Chicago's teacher strike. Still no deal and another day off for 350,000 children.

ROMANS: A dramatic new look at the Sikh temple shootings. A police dashboard camera captures the chaotic moments at that scene.

SAMBOLIN: New information about a cyber attack that left millions of iPhone and iPad I.D.s exposed. It turns out FBI computers were not the source of that breach.


SAMBOLIN (on-camera): Welcome back to EARLY START. We're happy you're with us this morning. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

ROMANS (on-camera): And I'm Christine Romans in for John Berman who's in for Soledad. It's 30 minutes past the hour right now.

No deal yet this morning for 30,000 Chicago teachers on strike.


(CHANTING) We are the union, the mighty, mighty union.


ROMANS: They're fighting for what they call a fair contract. Negotiations with public school officials now entering a second day. 350,000 students have an unscheduled day off leaving parents scrambling for a plan "B." Casey Wian is in Manuel Elementary School in Chicago. Casey, any signs of solid progress at least?

WIAN: Well, I guess, the good news, Christine, is that both sides were talking up until about 9:30 or so local time last night, and they're expected to resume negotiations this morning. There are two main issues, though, that were not discussed late last night. And those two issues are the first one is how are laid off teachers recalled?

And who controls that, whether it's union influence or whether it is local school principals? That's actually an issue that teachers are not legally allowed to strike over, but it remains a point of contention in these negotiations. The other bigger issue is the teacher evaluation program that is about to be implemented. The teachers union says it relies much too heavily on standardized test scores, and it could cost 6,000 teachers their jobs over the next year or two.

The school district says that's not true. They don't believe those numbers. But here's why the teachers union says this new evaluation program is unfair.


JAY C. REHAK, EXEC. BOARD MEMBER, CHICAGO TEACHERS UNION: The children go into school with different learning capacities, different levels of educational preparedness. I work at a magnet school.

So, of course, if they decided that they were going to give merit pay, they might give me a tremendous raise, but my neighborhood colleagues in school get work and do a really difficult of working these school with tremendous socioeconomic conditions, those people would be considered failures. They have been considered failures.


WIAN: Now, the focus of much of the union's anger and the picketers has been on Chicago mayor, Rahm Emanuel, who has, so far, not been personally involved or directly involved, I should say, in these negotiations. It is no secret that Mayor Emanuel and teachers union president, Karen Lewis, do not get along very well.

Still, the mayor is trying to distance himself from this controversy or at least him being the focus of the union's anger. Here's what he had to say about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) EMANUEL: The focus I want is on them. I want it on our kids. I'm not looking for another -- I going to left challenges. I wasn't looking for a challenge, but I'm not going to allow another generation to go on the shortest school day and the shortest school year.

WIAN: That's one of the things the mayor has implemented is a longer school year. These negotiations are expected to begin at 9:30 -- to resume, I should say, Christine at 9:30 a.m. local time this morning. Both sides still saying a deal is within reach, but no deal yet.

ROMANS: And a couple things about the sticking points on the recalled teachers. I mean, Rahm Emanuel and the school district, they want to be able to put in a teacher that's the best teacher for that situation in the school if there's an opening. They don't want there to be a list from the union of these are the teachers you can choose, right?

WIAN: Absolutely. It's very much about who controls this process. And Mayor Emanuel made it a point yesterday of saying that the schools that are best performing in the city of Chicago are the schools where the principal has been able to control that process. He wants that school district wide.

ROMANS: And that's a threat to unions who want to have more control over making sure teachers -- wow. That's a tough situation in Chicago, especially for those parents and kids. All right. Casey, we'll talk to you again next hour. Thanks, Casey.

SAMBOLIN: I'm curious if you can legally strike over the teacher evaluation issue because that's really going to become, I think, the next major fight is what is legal here? Will this go to court? And Mayor Emanuel says he wants to keep it out of the court, he would rather go to the bargaining table and figure it out.

ROMANS: It's so interesting to me about it, too, is that the teacher evaluation issue, the president, Arne Duncan and others who are Democrats, have wanted to have more pay for performance for teachers. You have to have a way to pay performance and that's to evaluate the teachers. So, it's a change in reform that's being pressed on the unions from Democrats, which is a very -- which is the power base for Democrats as always --

SAMBOLIN: But if you go to the Chicago teachers' union website, they are also pushing for reform.

ROMANS: Right.

SAMBOLIN: So, they have a clear plan of how they see reform happening as well. And I think they're probably united on that front, how they feel about how it should be reform. The question is how do you get there.


ROMANS: Right. Exactly.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Thirty-five minutes past the hour. Exactly 11 years have passed since the terror attacks that changed America forever.


SAMBOLIN (voice-over): At Ground Zero this morning, family members of 9/11 victims will participate in the traditional reading of the names. This is a live picture that we have for you from the national September 11th memorial in Manhattan.

The ceremony begins at 8:39 Eastern Time. And at the White House, the President and First Lady will observe a moment of silence before arriving at the Pentagon at 9:20 Eastern for a wreath laying ceremony.

And Vice President Biden will speak at a ceremony at the Flight 93 memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. That is at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. Quite a bit planned across the country here.

And 50 forms of cancer are being added to the list of World Trade Center related diseases covered by the 9/11 Zadroga Act. That is welcome news for hundreds of sick first responders. But with so many more victims expected to seek compensation from the government's $2.8 billion fund, individual payouts are expected to continue to shrink.

ROMANS (voice-over): Police in Oak Creek, Wisconsin have released dramatic dash cam video as officers responded to the deadly shootings at that Sikh temple last month. Lieutenant Brian Murphy can be seen rolling for cover as gunman Wade Page runs out of the temple and into view.

Murphy was shot multiple times, but he survived the attack. Moments later, Officer Sam Lenda who fired the shot that hit Page arrives. He can be heard screaming.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got a man with a gun in the parking lot. In the parking lot.



ROMANS: After being hit by Officer Lenda's bullet, Page, who killed six people in that temple attack, he took his own life.

SAMBOLIN: A hacker from the group, Anonymous, is taking responsibility for crashing website of the massive web hosting company GoDaddy. Millions of websites use GoDaddy surfers also appeared to have crashed. The company says service was restored to most of its clients within a few hours yesterday.

ROMANS: A small Florida-based application development company may be the source of a security breach that released the personal data of an estimated 12 million Apple iPad and iPhone users earlier this year. Hackers originally claimed this information came from FBI computers. But now, officials at the firm, Blue Toad, say their system was hit by a cyber attack and the data came from them.

SAMBOLIN: Listen to this. Tattooing is a form of free speech, folks. That is according to a unanimous ruling by Arizona Supreme Court saying it has full protection under the U.S. and state constitutions. It's a first time a state high court has ruled body art is protected speech. But the decision stopped short of saying that the city of Mesa went too far when it rejected plans for a tattoo parlor there back in 2009.

ROMANS: All right. Week one of the 2012 NFL Football season officially in the books after a double helping of Monday night football. In Baltimore, quarterback, Joe Flacco -- is that how you say his name -- I don't follow that team, 299 yard, two touchdowns. The Ravens using a new no-huddle offense to battle the Cincinnati Bengals, 24-13.

And in Oakland, Philip Rivers threw a touchdown pass and Nate Kaeding booted five field goals to lift the Chargers to a 22-14 victory over the Raiders. We still have to have our tailgate.

SAMBOLIN: That would be great.

ROMANS: We promised a tailgate this year.

SAMBOLIN: Which team?

ROMANS: I don't know. We'll have to pick one.

SAMBOLIN: Chicago Bears.




SAMBOLIN: Frightening moments for a South Carolina congressman who found himself staring down the barrel of a gun. That story coming up.


SAMBOLIN: It is 42 minutes past the hour. Welcome back to EARLY START. Politicking takes a backseat today as the nation marks a 9/11 anniversary. Both candidates will observe a one-day moratorium on any political ads.

A new CNN/ORC poll shows President Obama gaining ground on the heels of the Democratic convention. He now leads Mitt Romney by six points, 52 percent to 48 percent. The same poll last week had the two tied at 48 percent.

CNN political editor, Paul Steinhauser, live in our Washington, D.C. Bureau. That's a convention bump they talk about. Not what it used to be, right?

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Not at all what it used to be. Back in the old days, I guess, the 1990s and earlier, you know, you used to see a lot bigger bounces. In fact, there was nearly any bounce four years ago. Very small on this (INAUDIBLE) President Obama. So, how did he get that balance if it really is a balance?

Well, take a look at this. This is interesting. Favorable ratings. Look at the President's favorable rating now after the Democratic convention as compared to before. Look at that, 57 percent now. It was 51 percent a week ago. Mitt Romney's favorable rating seems to have gone the other way according to our poll, from 53 percent a week ago to 48 percent now.

How about strong and decisive leader? Here's another one where they kind of crisscross and went the other way. The President now, 50 percent saying he's a strong and decisive leader, 44 percent for Romney, and that is very, very different than it was a week ago. You can see right there.

And finally, one of our numbers, Zoraida, to show you how we kind of got to that overall horse race number, this is having a clear plan to solve the country's problems, the same thing. Before the Democratic convention, you saw Romney had the advantage. Now, the President has the advantage according our poll. You can see these numbers basically just swapped -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Those are interesting numbers. I know you have another poll for us this morning. You love polls. It's a "Washington Post" poll, and it's likely voters versus registered voters. Now, I'm a registered voter who is likely to vote. So, first you need to explain that to me.

STEINHAUSER: Well, registered voter is the wider pool of voters. That means you register to voter. Likely voters, and here's the likely voter number in their poll, which also is conducted like ours right after the Democratic convention. You can see it's basically dead even there in their poll.

The likely voter model is a tighter model, which means a person is more likely to vote, actually cast the ballot on Election Day or vote earlier. And that's why people think the likely voter model is probably a better representation of what will happen on Election Day -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: So, I know there's a moratorium on ads on both sides of the camp, but Bill Clinton will be campaigning with Obama today. Is that right?

STEINHAUSER: Yes, he's doing a two-day swing starting tonight in Florida, and it's going to continue to Miami area and then tomorrow night as well in the Orlando area. And listen, you know, the Obama campaign is so happy to see Bill Clinton on the campaign trail. No doubt about that. They feel he was very effective as a convention --

SAMBOLIN: Man hug moment.

STEINHAUSER: There you go. There it is. There it is. So, yes, they would like to see Bill Clinton on the campaign trail probably almost every day between now and November 6th. We'll see what happens.

SAMBOLIN: I bet they would. Paul Steinhauser live for us in Washington. Thank you very much.

ROMANS: A South Carolina woman is being held without bond after allegedly threatening Congressman Trey Gowdy with a gun. Police say 52-year-old Gloria Yvonne Brackett confronted Gowdy in a church parking lot Sunday night, pointed a gun at him and told him to stop following her.

The South Carolina lawmaker was able to drive away safely. He was picking up his daughter from church at the time. Gowdy told police he has never seen the suspect before.

A gay couple in Massachusetts is suing the catholic diocese of Worcester. They claim the district is refusing to sell them a mansion, because they're gay and it's afraid they'll stage same-sex weddings there. The two men who are married want to purchase the million dollar Oakhurst mansion and turn it into a banquet hall.

They say they were mistakenly sent a copy of an e-mail in which the monsignor told the real estate broker that after checking with the bishop, this deal was off. The attorney for the diocese says finance concerns and not discrimination ended the deal.

SAMBOLIN: Forty-six minutes past the hour. Police on the wrong side of the law. Coming up, the staggering number of officers arrested on just one city police force.

And if you are leaving the house right now, you can watch us anytime on your desktop, perhaps on your mobile phone, just go to


ROMANS: It is about 50 minutes after the hour. Let's get you up to date.

No deal yet for 30,000 Chicago teachers on strike.


ROMANS (voice-over): Negotiations with public school officials now into day two. Mayor Rahm Emanuel saying teachers are making the wrong choice to strike with 350,000 students paying the price. Emanuel says there are two unresolved issues, teacher evaluations and a policy that would put laid off teachers in the front of the line for new jobs.

SAMBOLIN (voice-over): The Food and Drug Administration is being sued for failing to meet seven deadlines to implement a new food safety law. The suit was filed at a federal court in San Francisco by two advocacy groups, the Center for Food Safety and the Center for Environmental Health.

They say the FDA has been dragging its feet on the Food Safety and Modernization Act which President Obama signed on January of 2011. ROMANS: More than 90 D.C. police officers, including captains, detectives, and rank and file cops, 90 of them, more of them have been arrested in the last 3 1/2 years. Nineteen arrested so far this year. The "Washington Examiner" culled through police data finding arrests stretching from D.C. to Florida. Charges range from child porn to murder. Most of the arrests are for suspected DUI and domestic violence cases.


ROMANS: Time now for a check of today's weather. Let's get to Rob Marciano. Morning, Rob.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, guys. We are watching Leslie, which is almost at hurricane strength, about 150 miles or so from Cape Race, Newfoundland, but moving in that direction at 40 miles an hour. It's accelerating. Already the range shield and winds have been impacting the Maritimes of Canada for the past 12 hours, but behind is not a whole lot of rain.

It's going to be a quick hitter, but strong winds especially on the eastern side of this system. Next stop will be Iceland and maybe getting over towards Sweden and Finland. Properly, taking the heat from the tropics and moving it northward. That's what these systems do. Got another one down here in the middle of the Atlantic, very far from land at this point, probably, will become our next tropical depression, but we might not have to worry about that one.

All right. Showers down across parts of Florida. Gorgeous day across the northeast, eerily similar to the weather that we had 11 years ago on 9/11. Cobalt blue skies. Rainfall across parts of Southern California and breezy conditions across parts of the northern tier. Temperature will once again be above normal across parts of the central U.S., 90 in Kansas City, 89 degrees in Denver, 79 in New York City. Guys, back up to you.

ROMANS: All right. Thank you, Rob.

SAMBOLIN: It is 52 minutes past the hour. Coming up at the top of the hour on EARLY START, 11 years ago today, the attacks that changed America forever. And now a breakthrough for World Trade Center first responders who are still suffering from different types of cancers.

In the next hour here on EARLY START, we'll speak live to the head of the World Trade Center Health Program, Dr. Benjamin Luft. We'll also take you live to New York -- or talk live, that is, to New York City Police Commissioner, Ray Kelly, about the 9/11 memorial controversy. He'll be live in front of the memorial in our next hour.

Life or death drama on live television. A wrestling announcer collapses while calling the match. We have the latest on his condition.

ROMANS: Plus, the would-be burglar caught on camera taking a nap at the scene of the crime.

But first, life is good for a group of lifeguards enjoying web fame with this video parody.


ROMANS: All right. Their story coming up.


ROMANS: Oh! Good morning.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. It is 56 minutes past hour. I'm Zoraida Sambolin along with Christine Romans. We are taking a look at what is trending on the web this morning.

Actress Emma Watson of "Harry Potter" fame is the favorite celebrity bait for cybercriminals trying to lure internet users.

ROMANS: Emma? Sweet Emma?

SAMBOLIN: Yes. Poor girl. The software security firm McAfee has named Watson this year's most dangerous celebrity to search for online because many sites use her name to trick people into downloading malware or steal personal information.

When searching the actress' name, there is a one in eight chance of finding a malicious site. That's awful. Watson replaces Heidi Klum, last year's most dangerous celeb and following Watson on this year's list, Jessica Biel, Eva Mendez. The only guy to crack McAfee's top 20 is Jimmy Kimmel at 13.

ROMANS: All right. A music video is supposed to be fun, fun, fun to mark end of summer, but it caused a group of California lifeguards their job. Their mistake was making a spoof of the crossover summer song "Gangnam Style" by Korean rapper, PSY. And they're using the public pool facilities at the El Monte Aquatic Center at the background.

Now, their version called "Lifeguard Style" was posted on YouTube. The 13 lifeguards and a pool manager were then fired. The city says it was a clear unauthorized use of resources and property. It was still funny. The lifeguards say they'll petition for their jobs back at the next El Monte city council meeting.

Maybe they'll just get in trouble and get their jobs back?

SAMBOLIN: I don't know. See the whole video and make that decision.

All right. Politics with a side of laughter. That's how the late night crowd keeps tabs on the presidential race.


JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON": A new poll shows that President Obama has expanded his lead over Mitt Romney since the Democratic National Convention. Of course, it didn't help Obama as much as that other event, the Republican National Convention. That was really good for him.


CONAN O'BRIEN, HOST, "CONAN": Yesterday in Florida, President Obama visited a pizzeria. Did you see this footage, where the owner gave the President a bear hug and lifted him off his feet? Yes. Yes. Everybody shared a good laugh and then the secret service shot the man in the face.


JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": Since Lindsay Lohan was in the news this weekend, she tweeted President Obama on the topic of tax cuts. The President tweeted, "I've cut taxes for people who need it. Middle class families, small business owners." And so, Lindsay tweeted back, "We also need to cut them for those that are listed on 'Forbes' as millionaires. If they are not, you must consider that as well." And she would have tweeted more, but she hit the car in front of her.


KIMMEL: I think that's brave. Thank you, Lindsay. Finally, someone is standing up for those who've been falsely accused of being millionaires in "Forbes" magazine.


KIMMEL: Someone needs to tell Lindsay Lohan that she's Lindsay Lohan and that she really should be focusing on what the President plans to do about cutting car insurance deductibles.



ROMANS: EARLY START continues right now.